Hong Kongs pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily says it may shut down

The pro-democracy paper is expected to fold in the coming days after authorities froze its funds under the national security law

The pro-democracy paper is expected to fold in the coming days after authorities froze its funds under the national security law

Hong Kong's pro-democracy tabloid Apple Daily said it will print its last edition on Thursday, after a tumultuous year in which it was raided by police and its tycoon owner and other staff were arrested under a new national security law.

Tong Ying-kit, 24, was arrested under the new law the day after it came into effect when he allegedly drove his motorbike into a group of police officers during protests on July 1 a year ago.

Five executives, including chief editor Ryan Law and CEO Cheung Kim-hung, were arrested under the charge of colluding with foreign forces.

Apple Daily has come under increasing pressure since Lai was arrested previous year under the security legislation, which was introduced after months of at times violent pro-democracy protests.

China responded to the protests with a number of measures suppressing dissent, including the national security law, which criminalises subversion, secession, terrorism and foreign collusion endangering national security.

Since past year, nearly every leading democracy figure has been jailed. The city's legislature no longer includes opposition members, schools have revamped teaching materials and fired teachers critical of China, and art exhibits and cinemas are censoring politically sensitive content.

The government campaign against Apple Daily, which included raids of its newsroom by hundreds of police officers, caps months of scrutiny of Hong Kong's once-vibrant independent media landscape.

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Footage showed his motorbike was flying a flag that read "Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times", a popular protest slogan now deemed illegal under the security law.

At a regular press conference, Lam expressed her support for the enforcement authorities of Hong Kong in defending national security, saying the HKSAR government will act strictly in accordance with the law so as to avoid the national security law to exist in name only.

The Global Network for Press Freedom called the announcement "devastating news" for press freedom in the city.

The police operation against Apple Daily has drawn criticism from the US and Britain, which say Hong Kong and Chinese authorities are targeting the city's promised freedoms.

Critics, including many western nations, say China has broken its "One country, two systems" promise that Hong Kong could maintain key freedoms after its handover from Britain.

However, the wording of Beijing's security law makes clear that it trumps any local regulations in the event of a dispute, something successive court rulings have already upheld.

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